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1849 taking over Fort Bliss' Freedom Crossing
By: Gina Benitez
El Paso, Texas -- The year 1849 is taking over Freedom Crossing.
"It shows that the military's been present in El Paso since 1849 and even though it's moved to four or five different locations, this is our home now," said Fort Bliss spokesman Lt. Col. Lee Peters.
"To honor that date, we've put together a week of fun activities. We've gotten all of our stores and restaurants involved too to offer a discount at the price point of $18.49," said Tim McCoy, spokesman for Freedom Crossing.
Specials include up to 40 percent discounts on clothes, food and electronics.
"It's good that they're doing something for the whole community. Us as soldiers, we like that kind of thing. Whenever they're giving something back that's good," said Matthew Brewer, a Fort Bliss soldier.
Along with the deep discounts, there will be free entertainment and activities all week long.
"Today we're having a play date, we had a showing at the grand theatre, and they're doing Valentine's activities behind us right now," McCoy said.
Freedom Crossing has been around since 2010.
It's still the first of its kind -- the only open-air shopping center on any military installation.
Between the stores, construction and maintenance, it's brought 2,500 jobs to the area and with the exception of the PX and commissary, all stores generate sales tax revenue to the immediate areas.
Probably most rewarding is the door it's opened connecting soldier and civilian.
"The thing about Freedom Crossing is that it's open not only to military, and their families but also to the residents of El Paso," Peters said.